Well, they’re certainly not wasting time on exposition before the action gets going this season. Yay! No more travel scenes! So here are my thoughts about the episode:
1: Daenerys’ council at Dragonstone was an important scene. On one side, we have the women advocating for an aggressive strategy. On the other side, we have Tyrion with his much more sensible advice. I think Daenerys was smart to take the middle route offered later on in the episode: Take Casterly Rock with the foreign army but beseige King’s Landing with a Westerosi army. It avoids the bad PR that Cersei could use to whip up support for her cause.
2: Randyll Tarly is going to be an interesting dark horse for at least another episode. I think he may be leaning toward Daenerys at this point but if he hears of the destruction of the Greyjoy and Dornish fleet, he may play things safe and go for Cersei. However, it’s really hard to tell. He’s the only one who ever beat Robert Baratheon in battle, which shows he has a real head for strategy and tactics (not so much for parenting!). Even with the Greyjoy fleet destroyed by Euron Greyjoy, I think Tarly may end up with Daenerys as she still has three dragons, an army of Dothraki and her Unsullied.
3: Now I’m really justified in my most repeated saying in Game of Thrones: Poor Ser Jorah! I was so glad that Sam decided to help him despite Archmaester Marwyn’s objections. I really, really hope that all of that pain was worth it and he’s cured like Shireen. (And that Sam also doesn’t get greyscale in the process.) For the sake of adding some hope to the penultimate season, please let this work.
4: I told you so! I knew Arya wasn’t going to end up going to King’s Landing and I’m so glad she’s heading back north. She needs to be with Jon, Sansa and Bran (who will be arriving shortly I assume). The few remaining Starks and the secret Targaryen-Stark need to be with family, now more than ever.
5: I’m not sure how I feel about Melisandre’s reappearance. I knew that after Jon banished her she would of course go to Daenerys but I really do wonder what role she’s going to play in the season. Will she act as an advisor to Daenerys? Or is she going to do something else? My money would be on something else because her character has never really been that simple.
6: Also: yay Nymeria! Now that we’ve found Nymeria again, all we need is for Arya to run into Gendry, who is presumably somewhere in Westeros. Unless he rowed all the way to Essos, seeing as he has apparently been rowing for years. /s
7: Shit is going to go down at Winterfell with Jon gone, Sansa in charge and Littlefinger still skulking about. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with Littlefinger’s storyline, but going off past experience he’s going to counsel Jon to side with Daenerys. Littlefinger is a survivor most of all. If Jon doesn’t side with Daenerys, he’ll try to pack up the army of the Vale along with Sansa and side with the Mother of Dragons himself.
8: Speaking of dragons, I knew Qyburn was up to something as soon as Cersei knew that Daenerys was sailing for Westeros. A weapon that can wound dragons was pretty obviously going to come up sooner or later. I just hope that for Daenerys’ sake, it doesn’t work quite as efficiently as Qyburn hopes. Although I do suspect she may lose at least one dragon this season. Having three dragons and a massive intact army would be way too easy for Daenerys. Characters in Game of Thrones never just get things handed to them, as we’ve seen over the previous six seasons.
9: Hey, Hot Pie is still around. Now there’s a survivor!
10: Okay, so we know Ellaria, one of the daughters and Yara have been all captured by Euron. Lovely. The other two Dornish women are dead and frankly I can’t bring myself to care. I wasn’t all that invested in their characters in the books anyway but I really didn’t like them in the show (too much bland acting and B-movie fight scenes). So on that front, my reaction is kind of ‘meh’.
11: So now we know that Ellaria and Yara are Euron’s wedding present to Cersei. I think we can all agree that these two women are in for horrific deaths at best.
12: And…brave Sir Theon ran away. When the fighting was pretty much over and he saw Yara captured, I think it brought out the Reek in him again and he fled. I really can’t blame him from a psychological standpoint but it still feels like a betrayal of his sister yet again. But, I suppose he still has a role in the show or he wouldn’t have gotten away alive. Maybe to tell Daenerys her plan to beseige King’s Landing with a Westerosi army has failed? And then what? I’m really not sure where his character is realistically heading. Maybe for death, like Jaime is.
Well, that’s all for this week. I can’t wait for next week’s meeting between Daenerys and Jon, Euron’s presentation to Cersei and some Winterfell intrigue.
Yay, Game of Thrones is back! Finally! I’ve been ridiculously excited for the new season so let’s get to it. Here are my thoughts about this episode, in no particular order:
1: Okay, so much for the Freys. I was suspicious when I saw the scene start with a feast but as ‘Walder’ kept talking I figured out who it was. That scene was just the perfect revenge for Arya. Go Arya!
2: Samwell, you’re awesome. Finally, the boy who desperately didn’t want to break the rules or do anything to cause a stir has found some steel in him. It started when Sam rescued Gilly and killed a white walker (and stole his father’s sword last season) but now I think we’re nearing the end of his sort of coming-of-age character arc. He used to be a boy, but experience and love have made him into a man. A man who has to empty bedpans and eat soup that looks like it came out of a bedpan, sure. But a man nevertheless.
3: NO!!! Poor Ser Jorah. sigh I know he’s going to die so I really, really hope he waits until Daenerys gets there. The writers are keeping him alive and putting him in Oldtown for a reason. But at the same time, I’m still holding out hope beyond hope that Sam will somehow find him a cure and he goes back to Daenerys. What can I say? Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic after all.
4: The Sansa and Jon tension will only heat up this season. With Littlefinger plotting as usual and Jon being an honourable Stark (despite actually being a Targaryen) I think she may become frustrated with both of them and forge her own path. Whether that’s alongside Jon or Littlefinger remains to be seen. Not only did she learn a lot from Cersei, she also learned what not to do when playing the game of thrones by watching what happened to her father and older brother.
5: So I hope Bran and Meera finally get to Winterfell. I want Jon to finally know his actual origin story. Preferably before he meets with Daenerys, his aunt.
6: Hmm…you guys, I think Jaime is going to die this season. His children are dead and his lover/twin is distant and drowning herself in wine. I honestly just don’t see much of a future for his character. Perhaps he’ll die fighting in the Reach, trying to claim Highgarden? I’m not sure, but I really do think he’s going to die this season. He’s lost all motivation to live.
7: On a side note, can I just commend Euron Greyjoy’s actor for finding the perfect blend of smart alec and crazy? He’s got the crazy eyes like Theon when he was Reek but you still get the feeling he’s more clever than he’s letting on. I wonder what present he’s going to give Cersei (besides his two working hands)?
8: And Arya’s travelling along the road and happens across a band of Lannister men with an apparently famous singer doing a cameo. Huh. She says she’s going to kill the Queen but I really think she won’t. Not because Arya doesn’t want to but because I just can’t see Cersei dying that easily. That would be a real cop-out.
9: After six seasons, Daenerys is finally in Westeros! And Dragonstone, where she was born. And it’s completely empty despite the fact that I’m pretty sure Stannis would have left some force behind to guard his home castle. Oh well, as far as plot holes go this one isn’t bad.
10: Tyrion needs to shave. Badly.
11: So now that, thanks to Sam, Jon knows there’s dragonglass (obsidian) on Dragonstone, I’m pretty sure he’s going to meet with Daenerys somehow to try to forge an alliance. He needs to if he’s going to fight the White Walkers.
12: I thought the part with the Hound was going to be boring, but man was I wrong. I think that whole part where he stumbles on the hut he robbed, sees a vision in the fire and then buries the bodies is a real turning point for him. Maybe the Lord of Light isn’t so bad after all. Maybe the Hound is alive for a purpose, just like Beric Dondarrion.
13: Where’s Gendry? Is he still rowing that damn boat? Or is Arya going to stumble upon him in or on her way to King’s Landing? Who knows? I guess we’ll eventually find out.
And now I can’t wait for next Sunday! Like Daenerys, I’m definitely ready to begin. This season is going to be great!!!
I wasn’t sure how the writers would top episode 8, ‘Hardhome’ but I think they did with this one so let’s get to it:
1. I knew Shireen was going to die from the minute Stannis started actually showing more affection toward her. After Ramsay’s night raid on their camp, I think Stannis is pushed to desperation with not enough food to go forward or back. In his mind he only has one choice.
2. I wonder how poor Ser Davos is going to react to his de facto little girl being burned alive by her own father?
3. Plus, I think the fact that Selyse wanted to stop the burning once it happened really shows that she’s a complicated character. She thinks she hates Shireen but I think she fears her because of the greyscale and sees her as a failure. I mean, out of all the children she had, only Shireen, the ‘deformed’ one survived to term?
4. For a second there I thought Ser Alliser wasn’t going to let Jon Snow and the wildlings through the gate. But since he did I think he’s angling to take over Jon’s job, forcibly if necessary. Showing the Night’s Watch their Lord Commander’s ‘greatest sin’ is just one way to really turn sentiment against him.
5. I knew Arya was going to see Ser Meryn in Braavos from the time Cersei sent him to escort Lord Tyrell. And after that disturbing brothel scene I think Ser Meryn’s days are numbered just the same as Arya’s time at the House of Black and White is numbered.
6. I’m glad Bronn and Jaime are making it out of Dorne with Myrcella and Trystane. But what is Ellaria playing at? I doubt she’s given up her dream of getting revenge for Oberyn’s death, no matter what she swears to Doran.
7. Wow, the look on Daenerys’ face when Ser Jorah appeared in the pit again was just perfect. As was her look when she thought he tried to kill Hizdahr but really just killed a Harpy.
8. On that note, I was kind of surprised they killed of Hizdahr even before their marriage. What was the purpose of that particular change from the books?
9. Also, the choreography in the fighting pit was just beautiful. Someone must have been drunk or high during that really awful Sand Snake fight scene because this was classic Game of Thrones.
10. Yay, Dany finally got to ride Drogon. But I wonder where Drogon will take her? Will she end up where she does in the books or will the show’s writers change that slightly?
So what did you guys think of this super-intense episode? I’m very, very excited for the finale this year!
As always, spoilers!
1. Poor Jon. I personally think he’s making the right choice in enlisting the help of the Free Folk but it sure doesn’t seem very popular with the rest of the Night’s Watch.
2. Sansa, just get out of there! There are warning bells going off left, right and centre: Theon turned into Reek, Ramsay’s clear enjoyment of mind games, etc.
3. I hope Brienne and Podrick do manage to rescue Sansa, but realistically they’re not going to. Still, it will be interesting to see them try.
4. Oh Daenerys…first you almost kill a man then you say he was right and tell him you’re going to get married. Are you always this romantic?
5. And wow, that Missandei-Grey Worm scene was amazing. Those two actors have such great chemistry together that they make every scene together so emotional.
6. No, Ser Jorah! Why, oh why, did you have to take Jon Connington’s storyline? Gah!
What did you guys think of tonight’s episode?
(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.
Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.
After loving the first four books, I’ll admit that I really wanted to love A Dance with Dragons. I really, really tried. But it was such slow-going. It took me over a month to finish this book which should be a warning sign right there.
The problem, I think, at this point in the series is a little something called character bloat. There are too many characters. There are so many different houses and players entering into the war for Westeros that it’s simply become ridiculous. I can hardly keep track of them all and I’m not bragging when I say I have a good memory when it comes to books. Some points of view could have been cut from the book entirely. Did Quentyn Martell really have to have his say? Arya’s story barely went anywhere.
If it was just a slow plot I could handle it but it feels like the characters are going in totally different directions. Daenerys is an indecisive, idealistic moron compared to the strong, sure young woman she was in previous books. Jon Snow keeps swinging between rigidly sticking to his oath as a man of the Night’s Watch and totally violating it by siding with a king. Tyrion…well I don’t know what to think of him anymore. It’s okay that characters change and explore themselves. That’s what makes a story good! But it’s not okay that they randomly go in a whole different direction with pretty much zero explanation.
Despite all this, when I actually sat down to read A Dance with Dragons I didn’t mind it all that much. Some parts were pretty darn good. Although George R. R. Martin lost some of the things that made his series great in the beginning (his ability to kill off main characters ruthlessly, for one) he still has that amazing world-building. We learn so much about Westeros and the rest of Martin’s world that it almost makes up for everything else. The history of all Seven Kingdoms and the impact on people and other places was fascinating. I loved learning more about the world’s history! It added more depth to Martin’s world.
Yes, I will read The Winds of Winter when it finally does get published. Will I be looking forward to it as much as I did this book? Probably not. I’m just hoping that the next book will be better and that we’ll go back to that magical spark George R. R. Martin had in A Game of Thrones.
I give this book 3/5 stars.
(Cover picture courtesy of Barnes and Noble.)
Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords….
A Song of Ice and Fire series just gets better and better as I go along. Not only was the plot full of unexpected twists this time around, but the characters took some pretty surprising turns. Characters who were once insignificant now play much more interesting roles and betrayals are around every corner. Plenty of the betrayals blindsided me and some of the changes in characters’ personalities made sense, but were definitely unexpected.
Part of the reason why I liked A Storm of Swords so much is that George R. R. Martin did so much more world development. We got to see things from the perspective of wildlings, but also other peoples across the Narrow Sea as well as in the Free Cities. Not only that, but we got to learn more about the history of Westeros and the surrounding countries in a more natural way rather than having all of the backstory dumped on us. Martin’s world isn’t the typical fantasy world I thought it was in the first book, in part because Martin actually understands politics. It’s not a simple good versus evil fight and the characters are completely good or completely evil; there’s ambiguity all throughout the novel.
And of course, where would this series be without its awesome characters? Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa Stark, Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow all get pretty good page time like in A Clash of Kings, but characters like Jaime Lannister and Samwell Tarly also get their say. I admit that I like some characters a lot more than others and sometimes the points of view of my least favourite characters were annoying, but that’s just personal preference. Pretty much all of the points of view Martin uses are necessary to move the story along.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but when of my favourite things about George R. R. Martin is that he’s not afraid to kill off important characters. Some authors hesitate about killing off their personal favourites or even fan favourites, but not him! He actually makes his characters suffer to the point where you wonder if it’s too much. Still, it makes for an excellent novel filled with all kinds of drama set against a brilliant fantasy world. It’s a thousand pages of pure awesome, to put it bluntly. Seriously, if you haven’t read this series yet, you should start.
I give this book 5/5 stars.
(Cover picture courtesy of Ciska’s Book Chest.)
In this thrilling sequel to A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has created a work of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination. A Clash of Kings transports us to a world of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare, unlike any we have ever experienced.
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingsdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy, a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress, and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.
Since we got over all of the character introductions in the first book, A Clash of Kings really starts to heat up. We see Tyrion’s triumphs, Sansa’s struggles, Jon wrestling with decisions involving family and honour and so much more. Not only do we get to see these characters, we also continue on Arya’s and Daenerys’ points of view and have the added POV of Davos, the ‘Onion Knight’. This is all very fascinating, but I’m getting the impression that the series could suffer from extreme character bloat in the next few books. As things heat up in all threads of the plot, I have a feeling it may be hard to keep all of the characters’ stories straight because Martin seems to be adding more and more all of the time.
However, A Clash of Kings generally manages to stay on topic and not get too sidetracked. We see characters like Sansa finally mature and unlikely heroes like Tyrion and Daenerys triumph in their own ways. Part of what has impressed me so much about A Song of Ice and Fire is the characters and how much time is devoted to their development. They are so much more complicated than their archetypal descriptions would suggest and that makes A Clash of Kings a fascinating read. Characters can make or break a story for me, so I’m thankful for Martin’s attention to detail.
For an epic fantasy novel, A Clash of Kings is quite fast-paced. There is a bit of a slouch in the middle of the story, but compared to a lot of epic fantasy out there, the plot still moves forward. Alliances are made and broken, murders are planned and carried out and treason is all around. You never really know what’s going to happen next and that’s really what made this second book so exciting, even more so than the first.
The further development of the fantasy world is satisfying as well. We start to learn about places other than Westeros, in part because of Daenerys’ travels. We also learn more about the other powerful empires in Martin’s world as well as the fact that there are free, trade-based cities within this world of kings and tyrants. This is not just your typical epic fantasy with kings and queens; George R. R. Martin has obviously studied history and knows that nothing is ever that simple. In some places, there are republics and in others there are oligarchies and in still others (Westeros) there are the traditional monarchies. The politics within all of these countries are more nuanced than I’ve come to expect, so I really do appreciate Martin’s world-building.
I give this book 5/5 stars.